WILMINGTON — Salesianum and Appoquinimink have developed quite a rivalry in soccer, with the teams having met five times in the Division I state championship game since 2013. Last season, the Jaguars finally got the upper hand, defeating the Sals twice, once in the regular season and again in the Division I state championship in penalty kicks.
Surely, that match was in the minds of the Sals, who came out and scored three straight first-half goals on their way to a 5-1 defeat of Appo in prime time on Sept. 25 at Abessinio Stadium. The Jaguars, ranked first in the state by Delaware Live/302Sports, mounted a bit of a comeback in the final 15 minutes of the first half, but No. 2 Sallies clamped down on defense in the second.
The Sals’ Jake Ross had a hat trick, but his first point of the evening came on an assist. Ross pilfered a Jaguars pass in the 12th minute and sent a long through ball to Noah Holgado. Holgado sent a waist-high shot to the left of Jags keeper Brodie Neubauer.
Ross did it on his own in the 18th. Again, he stole the ball, and this time he dribbled briefly to the left of the keeper. His shot deflected off a defender and into the short side of the net.
Ross and Holgado hooked up again eight minutes later. Holgado sent a pass to Ross, who outdueled a Jaguars defender for the ball and whistled a shot low and to the left of Riley Buzby, who had come in for Appo.
The momentum shifted after the third goal. The Jaguars went on the attack and spent considerable time in front of Salesianum goalkeeper Zachary Bittner. The keeper was called on to make two fantastic diving saves, both of which led to Appo corner kicks. Neither resulted in a goal.
The pressure paid off in the 34th minute. A Salesianum foul just outside the 18-yard box gave the Jaguars a free kick. Thomas Hastings wrapped the 20-yard shot around the Sallies’ wall and into the right side of the net.
Ross completed the hat trick early in the second half. This time, Holgado fed his teammate down the left side, and Ross sent a left-footed shot to the far side to make it 4-1. Holgado added his second of the night in the 53rd, with Reese Peddrick earning the assist.
Meanwhile, the Sals kept the Jaguars from getting near Bittner in the second half, holding Appo to a single goal for the night.
The Sals had a 15-11 shot advantage, although the Jaguars had more corner kicks (6-4). Bittner made eight saves. Salesianum improved to 5-1 and will welcome national power and frequent opponent St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) to Abessinio Stadium next Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The Gray Bees are ranked second by the United Soccer Coaches.
Neubauer had five saves, and Buzby added two, for the Jags, who fell to 1-2. They host Dover on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Nick Halliday.